Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Orange County Human Resources Department: Where You're Taken Care of at All Costs

And we mean all costs. The Orange County Register reports that county Performance Auditor Steve Danley's investigation of the Human Resources Department is complete, and the results aren't good at all. According to the Register, the agency cost county taxpayers $149.3 million by routinely ignoring state and county rules to award unjustified promotions and raises to its own employees and those in the county's Chief Executive Office.

The whole article is worth reading, if only for its depressing catalogue of corrupt dealings involving the two agencies. The county CEO, Tom Mauk, has reportedly blasted Danley in a memo, but has refused to make the memo available. Human Resources director Carl Crown, in his own 20-page response to the audit, seems to clearly appreciate public anger over corrupt government dealings: "While I agree with many of the recommendations, I disagree with the overall tone of the report which suggests that there are severe deficiencies which (Human Resources) has chosen to ignore. . . Of particular concern is the implied questioning of the integrity of (Human Resources) staff. (T)here seemed to be little attempt during the audit to gain a better understanding of the background for some of the personnel actions, authorities, context, or other factors weighing in these decisions." Right, Carl; we're sure there's a lot of subtext involved in bureaucrats giving themselves raises and promotions with other people's money.

Interestingly, the county audit follows on two state-level audits, in 2004 and 2010, that found similar problems. While Crown, naturally, dismisses those reports as "out of date", failure to correct the problems puts the county at risk of losing state and federal funding. Which, at this point, may be the only way of getting rid of this agency's corruption.


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